Girum Urgessa, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, an associate professor of structural engineering at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, has been named a fellow by the ASCE Board of Direction.
Urgessa has made significant contributions to the civil engineering profession through excellence in academic teaching, publishing books on engineering licensure, participating in accreditation of civil engineering programs, and conducting high-impact research.
He is the recipient of GMU’s Teaching Excellence Award and the Chi Epsilon's Cumberland District James M. Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award. He has authored FE and P.E. licensure preparation books that have sold thousands of copies nationwide. He currently serves as a corresponding member on the ASCE Committee on Education.
Urgessa's main research is on the response of structures subjected to short-duration dynamic loads, including blast, impact, progressive collapse, and underwater explosion. He has authored or co-authored more than 75 papers in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, and books. He has presented his research worldwide, including a keynote speech at the 19th Symposium of Operational Applications in Areas of Defense. His research has been supported by the Department of Defense, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Brazilian Aeronautics Institute of Technology. He is a member of ASCE’s Committee on Retrofit of Structures under Dynamic Loads and currently serves as associate editor for the ASCE journal Practice Periodical in Structural Design and Construction.
Besides activities directly related to ASCE, Urgessa served has on several other committees, including ASEE’s Minorities in Engineering Division, ACI’s Blast and Impact Load Effects, and TRB’s Field Testing and Non-Destructive Evaluation of Transportation Structures. In addition, he co-chaired the 16th International Congress on Polymers in Concrete.
Urgessa is a licensed professional engineer in Maryland. He has industry experience working as a structural engineer for the Applied Science Division of Weidlinger Associates (now Thornton Tomasetti) and for Dekker/Perich/Sabatini.